‘Easy Unlock’ feature could soon come to Chrome OS, automatically unlocks your Chromebook if your phone is nearby

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Android Police has spotted a new feature in the Chrome OS dev channel that could one day allow users to unlock devices running Chrome OS by simply having their phone near the computer. The feature, which is still in a very early beta, is dubbed “Easy Unlock.” With this feature, your Chromebook could sense when your phone is nearby and Easy Unlock would automatically unlock the Chromebook, preventing the need to enter your password.

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Developer version of Chrome OS lets you access multiple profiles at the same time

Google has announced an experimental feature in the developer version of Chrome OS that allows you to access more than one user profile at the same time, easily flicking between them, as well as passing both tabs and files back-and-forth between profiles.

Switching profiles is as easy as clicking on the profile picture in the system tray popup. [...] One nice thing, but still highly experimental, is that you can move windows to different profiles with a simple right click in the window top bar. As you can see in the video, even the Files App even supports this feature.

To access the feature in the Chrome OS dev channel, enter the following line:

chrome://flags/#enable-multi-profiles

If you’re not currently using the dev channel, you can find instructions for switching here, but note that by definition you can expect to experience some glitches. The stable channel is always recommended when working on anything important.

ASUS announces smallest-ever Chromebox, available in March from $179

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ASUS has announced that the new Chromebox it promised last year will go on sale next month, priced from $179. The device – looking rather like Intel’s NUC ultra-compact desktop PC – is both the smallest and most powerful Chromebox to date, with a choice of three processors.

$179 will get you the base model, powered by a Celeron 2955U. Next model up is a Haswell Core i3 model, capable of driving a 4K monitor – and there will be an i7 version sold only outside North America. No pricing has yet been announced for the more powerful models.

“The Asus Chromebox offers the simplicity, security, and speed of Chrome OS in the most compact and powerful Chrome device to date,” said Felix Lin, director of product management at Google. “Perfect for home, the classroom or the office, Chromebox is designed for the way we use computers today” …  Read more

Google offering more than $2.7 million to people that can successfully exploit Chrome OS

HP Chromebook 11

HP Chromebook 11

Since its release, Google has touted that Chrome OS is incredibly secure and can be used for any type of use case. In a blog post on the Chromium Blog, the company announced today that it is offering a total of $2.71 million USD to anyone that exploit Chrome OS. In order to compete for a portion of that pot, developers have travel to the CanSecWest security conference in Vancouver, which takes place in March.

The criteria for this Pwnium contest, which Google has been holding for years, is pretty specific. Developers and hackers won’t get money for exploiting any portion of the operating system. Instead, Google has guidelines for how much they will be paid, depending on how deep the exploit is.

  • $110,000 USD: browser or system-level compromise in guest mode or as a logged-in user, delivered via a web page.
  • $150,000 USD: compromise with device persistence: guest to guest with interim reboot, delivered via a web page.

Google will also consider cash bonuses for demonstrating a particularly impressive or surprising exploit. Hackers will be able to choose between the Haswell-based Acer C720 and the ARM-based HP Chromebook 11.

If this sounds like something you want to try, Google requires that interested parties register ahead of the even by emailing security@chromium.org. Registration will close at 5:00 P.M PST on March 10th.

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Latest Chrome Canary build brings Google Now to the desktop

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There have been indications for a long time that Google Now was eventually coming to the Chrome browser on the desktop. Via the Google Operating System Blog, the service has finally surfaced in the most recent release of Chrome Canary (Google’s name for the app’s ‘alpha’ channel builds).

As expected, Google Now in Chrome closely mirrors Google Now on Android. The contextually-relevant cards (which show information such as weather, news or upcoming flights) appear in Chrome’s Notification Center on the desktop. This area be found in the Window’s taskbar or the Mac’s menubar, represented by a bell icon.

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9to5Google readers, what do you want to see from Google in 2014?

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As Google’s Chairman Eric Schmidt makes his own predictions for 2014, I’m turning the subject over to you…the 9to5Google reader. There’s absolutely no shortage of topics to cover or “what ifs” for Google in 2014. Given the various branch directions that Android, Chrome OS and the company itself can go, it’s a loaded question. With recent reports indicating Chrome OS is on the rise, could we see Microsoft running scared in 2014 against the impending threat of low-cost hardware with an operating system that costs manufacturers absolutely nothing?

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